Homily at mass for Norma McCorvey's reception into the Catholic Church

 

Father Ed Robinson, OP

 
  8/17/1998
 
St. Thomas Aquinas Church, Dallas, TX


We are gathered here to celebrate a "milestone" in a "journey." Because it has been a difficult journey our joy is all the greater, since victory is more glorious in proportion to the magnitude of the struggle to have attained it.

Each one of us is on the "journey of life" and each of our histories is unique to oneself, yet they all have something in common: No one of us is journeying alone! Miss Norma McCorvey would want me to make it clear that the victory we celebrate today is not primarily her victory, but that of Our Savior, The Lord, Jesus! And Miss Norma would immediately add to this a deep felt note of thanks to the human instruments which the good Lord used in accomplishing the victory. She beautifully recounts their help in her autobiography, fittingly entitled: Won by Love:

St. Paul tells us that "Grace builds on nature." In Miss Norma's autobiography we see a modern counterpart to the well-known Confessions of St. Augustine. In her early life, as in his, nature was not always disciplined by the guidance of intellect and will, and evidently not by the incorporation of God's grace. Harsh environmental circumstances were a very real factor in starting and sustaining her waywardness but, as she sees it now, it was the lack of the supernatural in her life which had clouded her thinking and her choices.

Of course, God never intended that our nature be sufficient by itself. We see that when He created our First Parents, in grace, as well as in nature. Along with the other people who were caught up in the Now Generation, Miss Norma became isolated in her present moment. We all know that when our external senses are busy with material things, it is easy for us to become absorbed in the present moment, and any consciousness of the past and future seems to escape us.

In her struggle for physical and emotional survival, Miss Norma was enticed into the role of Jane Roe in the infamous Supreme Courts decision: Roe vs. Wade. She lived that role for many years of her life, but it was never a source of happiness to her. Finally she saw her complicity in the evil of that decision, and became heartbroken over it. It was at that point that her human nature could be prepared by the grace of God to change the course of her journey.

She had the courage to "see the light" and responded to it! To assist Him in Miss Norma's conversion God chose Operation Rescue and its Director, the Rev. "Flip" Benham, Ronda Mackey and her two children, Emily and Chelsey, Pastor Sheats, her long-time friend, Miss Connie, Father Frank Pavone, and others from among her friends and acquaintances. It was their unconditional love for Miss Norma that had awakened her to the source of that love, her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

In response to His love and theirs, Miss Norma has pledged the remainder of her life to making reparation for the publicly acknowledged misdeeds of her past. She is now fully "pro-life" and lives her life in witness to respect for human life, and for God, the Author of all living things.

Today Miss Norma is completing the "twists and turns" of her life's journey. She is adding to her "salvation history" the final stage of conversion begun with her baptism by Rev. "Flip" Benham, three years ago, and further nourished by the ministry of Pastor Sheats. Today, after having completed her studies of Church Doctrine, Miss Norma is fully prepared to be begin her life as a member of the Catholic Church, beginning in this parish of St. Thomas Aquinas, Dallas, Texas. Honoring her request to be received into the Catholic Church, her new Pastor, Monsignor Bierschenk, now invites Miss Norma to profess her Faith in its teachings and, on behalf of the Church, welcomes her into the full participation of its Sacraments.

Now, the Profession of Faith

Then, the Holy sacrifice of the Mass and Miss Norma's First Holy Communion.

Then, thanksgiving: Te Deum Laudamus!

NOTE: It is Miss Norma's request that her reception is not to be a "media event," she wishes only to be alone with Jesus, her friends and her Church, on this solemn occasion.

Father Robinson, O.P.